I probably should have mentioned it before, but I have joined Team Tough Chik. If you haven't heard of Tough Chik - they are a performance clothing company making cycling/running/active wear for women. The team has over 160 members - of all abilities, all sorts of sports. While most of us are "virtual friends", I hope to meet at least a few local Tough Chiks IRL.
As a way to get to know each other and to keep our blogs full of interesting stuff, a question of the week was posted. This weeks question is "What was your best/worst race experience?"
This actually is a harder question than you might think. I have a lot of races that I am proud of for many different reasons. First races are always special accomplishments. Then there are races that you get a PR. I took a long time off from doing any racing, so my first race "back" was a big goal. On the flip side, I can't really think of many races that were bad - maybe I am lucky that I never ended up at a race that ended up being a total cluster. So what stands out?
Worst Race: I guess this has to be my first mountain bike race in sport class. It was about 15 years ago, and my husband and I had just started racing. We probably had done a hand full of races at this point. We also were on a local bike shop team and most of the others were in sport class. We actually had not intended to enter sport class, but we were late for the race and I can't remember if we actually missed the start or what. If I remember correctly, the beginner class was 1 lap and sport was 2 laps. I think each lap was maybe 6 or 8 miles, which may not sound long but in mountain biking terms it was a pretty good distance. I just remember that we were completely not ready to jump up to the next class. I remember being half way through the last lap and being totally bonked. I had never bonked before, but when it happens you know it. I felt like picking up empty gu packets from the ground because I needed something (I didn't actually do that). The worst part was being half way and knowing that even if I turned back I still had just as far to go. I finished the race, but it was pretty brutal.
Best Race: Like I said, there are so many good races I can remember, I have to say that my best race was my first half iron man. I usually need a race to train for to motivate me to train consistently, but I don't often plan so far ahead. I picked this race many months in advance and while I wasn't always consistent in my training, I still had the race in the back of my mind for a long time. Maybe having spent so much time thinking about it sort of built it up in my mind. The race was hard - I have never felt such a relief to cross a finish line. But it also was one of those races where I left with such a feeling of accomplishment. I had met (almost) all of my goals, and even though I didn't quite hit my run goal, overall I had a better time than my goal. I also had my family there - which I know for them isn't necessarily the most exciting thing (really a 6+ hour race where I pass by a few times isn't much to spectate). And although I didn't know it until after, another friend drove over 2 hours to see me finish knowing that this was a big goal for me (unfortunately I even missed seeing her at the finish at all, but she still made a huge effort to be there). I appreciate them giving up some of their time (although my husband will probably say he didn't have a choice) and being there to support me.